« AnkstesnisTęsti »
A QUAINT EPITAPH.
carved roof above, the soaring columns, the ancient mellowed walls, the pavement below, were charged with countless glowing tints as the softened sunshine shone through the traceried windows of stained glass reflecting their colours over all. In the churchyard here is an old tombstone, the epitaph on which, fast weathering away, is perhaps worth preserving :
Here lies Joan Kitchner ; when her glass was spent,
Then, wandering about, we found our way to the modern Roman Catholic church, a plain structure in the too familiar style of nineteenth-century classic. The interior looked bare to us. What a contrast to the gorgeous fane formerly dedicated to St. Edmund here! In this church we noticed an alms-box made, so an inscription below informed us, from the wood of the very tree to which St. Edmund was tied when he suffered martyrdom. Was this a nest-egg for future relics, we wondered? One thing we could not help noting, that whilst all the various inscriptions in the church were in Latin, a language not understood of poor people (and sometimes not always by rich), the requests for money for the church were in very plain English.
A Pleasant Country-Old Toll-gates--- The Homes of the People—The
Modern and the Last Century Traveller-Home Travel— Ruskin on Railways—A Picturesque Village-An Old Tudor MansionAn Ancient Moated Manor House—The Beauty of Old Buildings -An Ideal Hostelry—The Coaching Inns of the Past-A Prosperous Farmer-One Result of Agricultural Depression-A Holiday in a Farmhouse.
In the morning, before leaving our comfortable inn, we were taken down a dark staircase to inspect the groined cellars, which, as I have before remarked, the landlord told us belonged of old to the abbey. In these we had pointed out to us the recesses said to have been used by the monks for the sacramental wines, and the built-up wall where the underground passage from the monastery is supposed to have entered. Possibly these may have been the abbey cellars, but if so, why, when they had so great a quantity of land enclosed, the monks did not construct their cellar within their own walls, instead of going such a distance away, entailing an awkward underground approach, is truly a puzzling problem.
Looking at the stone roofing, as far as we could judge by the uncertain flickering light of a tallow candle, it seemed to us that the groining was rudely done, and not at all like the usual careful masonry of the olden monks. Indeed, as the Angel stands
on the site of a still earlier inn, and as we know of several ancient hostels in different parts of the country, with similar rough groined cellars, it seems more probable, in spite of the tradition of the house, that these were merely the cellars of an earlier inn.
As we were leaving, the landlord came to the door to see us off and wish us a prosperous journey in the friendly old-fashioned way. Such little attentions cost nothing, but are very pleasing, and make the traveller feel more like a welcome guest, departing from a country visit, than a mere wanderer in a strange land simply leaving a house of entertainment.
The country around Bury St. Edmunds is pleasantly diversified by wood and water and green fields, by time-toned homes of ancient date that tell of long abiding and give a humanising aspect to the landscape. We had not proceeded far on our way when we came to a very pretty village by the side of a sparkling stream, which stream was crossed by a grey old bridge. Here was an old toll-house, the turnpike-gate being, however, conspicuous by its absence—one of the few old-fashioned and formerly familiar features of the road this latter, whose improvement away we can all rejoice at.
The having to pull up ever and again (when driving by road) before a closed gate, whilst the ancient keeper thereof hobbled out to open it, and hobbled in again for change, was not a pleasant experience; and once or twice on a dark night when touring through an unknown country (when such things were), we have nearly run into one of these closed gates. But if the undesirable turnpike-gates no longer obstruct the traveller, it must be confessed that the gates protecting the level crossings of the railways which have multiplied so throughout the land are still more objectionable, even though you have not to pay for the pleasure of being unexpectedly delayed, for at one of these you must wait till the train, or perhaps trains, have passed. Upon a certain wellremembered occasion in the north country, I w actually detained at a level railway crossing for full a quarter of an hour whilst some shunting was going on, and this in a thunderstorm! On the whole the turnpike-gate is preferable.
Shortly after leaving the village we had a stiff hill to mount. An old weather-beaten windmill at the top of this tempted us to pull up awhile and make a sketch of it, and we lingered long after our drawing was done to enjoy the fine prospect that opened out from there before us. A very charming sketch that old mill made, though the subject was a simple one. How little goes to form a pleasing picture! It may be merely an ancient gnarled oak with moss-grown trunk, or the corner of a tumble-down barn, or a water-mill with its grey-green wheel and sparkling stream by its side, or even a rush-grown pool. Such simple things make far better subjects for a sketch than the most stately buildings reared by man in all their assertive perfection. An ancient thatched cottage, the humbler the better, that has been beautified by age, mellowed and toned by time, and painted by the weather-tints of summer suns and